Change must begin at grassroots

Debarati Palit Singh
Sunday, 14 January 2018

Director Paakhi Tyrewala’s short film Kajal highlights a relevant subject. The film starring Salony Luthra celebrates the #MeToo campaign, which gained prominence in October after several actresses came out against sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. This prompted a social media campaign where thousands of women were seen sharing their personal stories of sexual harassment using the #MeToo hashtag

Paakhi Tyrewala and Salony Luthra say change in attitude towards women needs to begin at home

Director Paakhi Tyrewala’s short film Kajal highlights a relevant subject. The film starring Salony Luthra celebrates the #MeToo campaign, which gained prominence in October after several actresses came out against sexual harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. This prompted a social media campaign where thousands of women were seen sharing their personal stories of sexual harassment using the #MeToo hashtag.

Paakhi says that the story was written much before the campaign because everywhere women face the same kind of issue. “Women are bullied and face harassment at every phase of life and hence, to celebrate the spirit of those who stand up, we decided to do this,” she says.

The film, which was recently nominated for an award, was shot with an all-female crew and highlights the bullying which women face at their workplace and home.

She adds that even though she comes from a family with no gender biases, she has met several college students and women who feel suffocated with the way society functions. “I have personally never faced anything like this. But there are so many women who lose their voice completely. We educate such women and get them a suitable groom,” she says.
Kajal won the best short film award at the River to River Film Festival and has got standing ovations and appreciation from other film festivals like New York Film Festival and Chicago South Asian Film Festival.

She says that Kajal is not just a film but a conversation that has started off and people are willing to talk about it. Salony, who plays the title role of a married working woman, who lets the men around her dominate her, says that women do not always have a voice. “So much is happening around us but no one is talking. But this film will kind of shake you and trigger an emotion.”

She adds that women are taught from an early age that they are not equal to men. “But that shouldn’t be the case. We should tell women that we are equal and it’s up to our father, brother and other male members to encourage women. But clearly there’s lack of support,” she believes.

To this, Pakhi adds that the change has to come from the grassroot level. “We have to educate every daughter and make her independent. Once that happens, we will see change in the future,” says the director who will next start shooting a political thriller in April.

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